(Editor’s Note: Story updated at 6:52 PM 01/26/2022)
Tim Van Galder passed away this morning at his St. Charles, MO home after a long battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.
The lovable, confident, handsome Wisconsin native was affectionately known as TVG. He was the St. Louis Cardinals 6th round draft choice in 1966 out of Iowa State. Van Galder spent time on the team’s taxi squad early in his career and served in the Army for a couple of years, before returning to the Cardinals in 1971.
“I waited for camp to start,” he told Jim Barnhart of The Pantagraph in 1973. “The Cardinals had (Jim) Hart and (Pete) Beathard. Another fellow and I were trying for the third quarterback spot. But this fellow was injured in a motorcycle accident and I got the third string job.”
Van Galder got his big break in 1972 when he was named starting quarterback in the season opener against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. TVG completed 10-15 passes for 110 yards in the Cards 10-3 upset victory. “The defense won the game,” Tim quipped after the contest.
The handsome Van Galder didn’t fare as well the following weeks and was knocked out of action against the Steelers.
“Mean Joe Green and two other Steelers did it,” said Van Galder. “It was a screenplay, but our fullback got hung up in the line. There was no one to throw to so I decided I’d run up the middle and get a few yards. They caught me in a vise.”
Tim played in a couple of more games later in the season, but retired at the end of the year. However, it wouldn’t be the last time St. Louisans would see TVG. Soon after his NFL career had ended, Tim signed on with KMOX, now KMOV, Channel 4 where he spent 13 seasons as a sportscaster. He later did some weekend work for KPLR 11.
TVG was a very good athlete and some called him a “super jock.” In 1973, Tim called his own shot with the Big Red All-Stars basketball team and swished a jumper from halfcourt. (And then ran into the stands to sign autographs.)
He once entered a tournament at Glen Echo Country Club and won the championship with a birdie in a sudden death playoff.
TVG also played QB for a local flag football team and pitched batting practice to the baseball Cardinals before the 6 PM newscast.
In recent years, Tim enjoyed spending time with his friends and former teammates and could be seen around town having lunch with Johnny Roland, Mel Gray and Jackie Smith, among others. Tim always had a good joke to tell and was well known for closing the annual “Big Red Gang” luncheon with a rib-tickler or two.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.
Friends and former teammates have shown an outpouring of love after learning of the death of Tim.
Former teammate and friend Bob Rowe: “The Lord needed a QB for his heavenly team this morning. He called TVG home. Great teammate, great guy, gonna miss him whole bunch. He was one of a kind. God bless you Tim.”
Former Channel 4 sportscaster and co-worker Paul Alexander: “Having a rough time with this one. Unforgettable person. Worked with Tim through some amazing years in the 80s. Lotsa laughs. Some tears. Great times. Less great times. Mutual laughter. Raised voices. Big wins. Bad losses. He welcomed me to St. Louis as no one else could have, for which I am eternally grateful. Taught me a lot about the city. We are separated in age by ten years. He was 35 when I was 25. As a result, we were coming at life and work from vastly different vectors. The combination was quite effective professionally. Frequently magic, even. But it sometimes took a toll on both of us. He loved me and I knew it and I am sure he knew I loved him. Tim was cooler than life. And now he’s cooler than death. Still, this one hurts.”
George Csolak: “Tim was a longtime friend. I will miss him dearly. He was a shining light, pre-COVID, at our weekly 1-2-3 Club meetings. When he walked in, the room would light up. During my three-year stint as president of the club, TVG would walk around the room shaking hands and when he got to me, he would smile and say, ‘Whattayasay, Prez?’ At the close of every meeting, Tim would come armed with a great joke that often left the room in stitches.”
Bob Wallace wrote on the St. Louis Football Cardinals Group Facebook page: “Sad news about TVG. He was dynamic personality. Instead of Broadway Joe (NYC), he was St. Louis’ Broadway Tim. I met Tim when I was a Cardinals ball boy in 1971 and TVG was trying to make the team. I was assigned to Lou Carpenter who was the Receivers Coach, and I charted the 7 on 7 drills, and would mark whether it was a good throw, good defensive play, or drop. Lou would often be too busy coaching to make a call on the chart and told me to do it if he didn’t. TVG figured this out (that Iowa State education) and sidled up to me one day and in no uncertain terms told me if there was a question, it was either a drop or good defensive play. I, only 15 at the time, understood his point. Tim started the first game of that season. A win! We were friends for the next 50 years! RIP Tim.”